The European Film Academy (EFA) and the Curtas Vila do Conde International Short Film Festival nominated Talleres Clandestinos (2010), by Catalina Molina, as the Vila do Conde Short Film Nominee in 2010.
The film, which highlights the intolerable conditions in which many still work in textile sweatshops, is an Austrian/Argentinian production and tells the story of Juana (Vanessa Salgueiro), a young Bolivian woman, who goes to Argentina to work as a seamstress. But Juana quickly realises that she is being exploited in order to produce textiles for a luxury brand. Her employer’s demands become ever more absurd, and working conditions become unbearable. When her son becomes ill, Juana starts making plans to return home, but her employer has other plans…
At the time of the film’s release, it came to light that one Juliana Awada, who had a friendly relationship with Buenos Aires’ Mayor Mauricio Macri, was alleged to be the owner of several textile sweatshops.
Local paper La Alameda stated that the sewatshops were “little better than slave labour” and that they violated immigration laws. In fact, the story dates back to October 2006, when La Alameda testified to the Federal Court and the Labour Ministry about their findings concerning undocumented immigrants being brutally exploited, badly paid and even trafficked for labour exploitation.
The conditions portrayed in Molina’s film appear to have more than a little basis in truth, with undercover videos of conditions in a workshop in Valentin Virasoro revealing no ventilation and unbearable heat, with the ambient temperature reaching as high as 60 degrees celsius, no room made available in which workers can eat, and only one working toilet/washroom facility.
40 mins. In Spanish.